[ISEA2011] Panel: Anat Pol­lack – ”objet petit a”: The Changing Meaning of Abstraction and Representation in the Digital Age

Panel Statement

Panel: The Big Bang of Electronic Art: Merging Abstraction and Representation in the Age of Digital Imaging

In the so­ci­ety of the spec­ta­cle, the art of the mass media changes the mod­ern re­la­tion­ship be­tween art and its au­di­ence.   The art re­sides in the shap­ing of this un­seen, dif­fuse spec­ta­tor­ship where the medium is the masses. In mass media, con­text trans­mutes image from scopic to semi­otic. Ab­strac­tion and Rep­re­sen­ta­tion are fun­gi­ble within this con­text.  This paper brings at­ten­tion to the work of artists whose process em­ploys the ap­pro­pri­a­tion, com­pres­sion, and de­con­tex­tu­al­iza­tion of mass media im­agery.  Re­sult­ing works re­veal the flat­ten­ing of the human soul caused by mass media.  The on­slaught of me­dia-im­ages sub­li­mates the image to the mes­sage, and ren­ders it mean­ing­less. These artists re­turn the image back to a state of pu­rity: open, and alive. As in JMW Turner’s fa­mous paint­ing Snow Storm: Steam Boat off a Har­bour’s Mouth, 1844 (coll: Tate Mod­ern) where the only sign of Moder­nity is blurred and thus re­veals the lu­mi­nous bril­liance of Na­ture, con­tem­po­rary artists re­sist cul­tural am­ne­sia and ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion through de­lib­er­ate at­tempts to fight the in­ver­sion of the human spirit. This process is one of utopian re­me­di­a­tion to­wards mem­ory in­stead of cul­tural am­ne­sia and the ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of the human to pres­ence within the flesh.  The space pro­vided by these con­tem­po­rary art­works re­deem the soul and offer a tran­scen­dent ex­pe­ri­ence of the sub­lime. All im­ages end at the flesh.

  • Anat Pol­lack is a con­ver­gent media artist. She is in­ter­ested in in­ter­ac­tiv­ity through real-time dig­i­tal pro­cess­ing in the in­stal­la­tion set­ting. Com­bin­ing old tech­nolo­gies with new, she is in­ter­ested in en­gag­ing mem­ory/nos­tal­gia with the pre­sent. Mem­ory in par­tic­u­lar is a con­stant theme in her re­search as she works to sim­u­late the human ex­pe­ri­ence using dig­i­tal and me­chan­i­cal sys­tems. She is specif­i­cally in­ter­ested in the way that our mem­ory func­tions, and the dif­fer­ence be­tween human and ma­chine in­for­ma­tion pro­cess­ing. In the past year,she has had a num­ber of ex­hi­bi­tions in­clud­ing a solo show at the Uni­ver­sity of Col­orado in Col­orado Springs, and par­tic­i­pated in the ju­ried shows: the VII Salon de Arte Dig­i­tal at the Cen­tro Pablo de la Tor­ri­ente Brau in Ha­vana Cuba, and at the Cather­ine J. Smith Gallery in Boone NC, and pre­sented her work at RSVP Words, Im­ages and the Fram­ing of So­cial Re­al­ity Con­fer­ence at the New School in Man­hat­tan, NY, US.

Full text (PDF) p. 1955-1957 [Different title!]